A year ago, Celtic decided to throw the dice on a young talent from Ipswich Town. Kundai Benyu had just thrived on loan at Aldershot Town and was out of contract at Portman Road. In the end, Celtic did get their man. The Bhoys beat off competition from West Ham, Tottenham and Aston Villa to sign the player for a reported compensation fee of £200,000.
As soon as he arrived, Brendan Rodgers knew he had something special. He was quoted by the Scottish Sun as stating the player was ‘highly gifted and talented’.
Benyu himself was excited to work under Rodgers. As reported by the BBC, he hoped that the Celtic boss could help turn him into the next Raheem Sterling.
At first, it seemed to be the case. The original plan to send him out on loan was scrapped and Benyu ended up making four appearances for the Celtic first-team.
But, with competition for places fierce, he was sent out on loan to Oldham Athletic for the second half of the season. He struggled for first-team football with the League One strugglers, who were eventually relegated to League Two.
Now pre-season is about to get underway again and the Zimbabwe international will need to focus and put in his best performances if he is to find his way back into the Celtic first-team picture.
Benyu undoubtedly has a future at Celtic. This summer he needs to showcase just what he can do to Rodgers all over again. Then, the pair can work on getting him to the Raheem Sterling level.